Retail Marketing Planning: How to Get Started With Marketing Planning

Marketers struggle with marketing campaign planning for different reasons: incomplete or inaccessible historical data, new marketing channels with no obvious comparables, lack of expertise or understanding of what really matters. We’ll explore how to address more of these issues in upcoming blog posts.

Understand Your Channels – Differentiate between Marketing and Order Channels

Even the most sophisticated marketers create confusion by using the word “channel” interchangeably between Marketing and Order Channels.

Marketing Channels are those that you spend your marketing efforts in: direct mail, email, display/retargeting, natural and paid search, affiliate, social media, etc. Order Channels are ones in which a customer places an order: call center, ecommerce/internet, and retail. Mobile is unique in that it can be categorized either way – for example, if a company has a mobile app which serves as a marketing tool, and a customer can also order through, the channel can be classified as either a Marketing or Order Channel. Keep in mind that the categorization should be consistent.

Plan Marketing Channels, then Forecast by Order Channel

Since you have much more control over marketing campaigns than where a customer will choose to place an order, start by planning your marketing campaigns. Each company has its own set of terminology, but there are typically three levels of marketing planning, depending on the complexity and depth of each channel. I’ll define my definitions for clarity:

Campaign – Overall theme that the marketing supports. This can be a season (Winter, Summer, Holiday), event (webinar, concert), membership drive (wine club, subscription-based purchase), promotion (semi-annual sale, clearance). Crosses between Marketing Channel and Communication since both are instrumental in supporting the campaign.

Marketing Channel – direct mail, email, search, display, affiliate, social media (same as above)

Communication – individual marketing treatments such as an email, postcard, Facebook ad, mobile ad, SEM ad.

For some marketing channels, such as direct mail, marketers typically plan at the Communication level. Direct mail requires more advance planning since print orders need to be placed, customer lists modeled and hygiened, list rentals ordered, and postage costs calculated.

Other marketing channels need less rigor and can be planned at the channel level. For example, if your affiliate program is fairly even and predictable, it probably makes sense to plan at the channel level rather than have individual plans for each publisher.

Depending on your business, you may also plan by Campaign. An example of this is a large semi-annual sale promotion – you would plan communications in each of your channels to support the promotion. You may send a catalog or direct mail piece, a series of emails, a social media contest, and targeted display ads to reinforce your message.

Increases in Circulation: Need to Account for Growth and Lower Performance

The next step is to take historic data as the plan starting point. Response rates, average order, click through rates, and other relevant metrics are helpful for planning for communications targeted at similar audiences.

Two common mistakes that marketers make are:

  1. Not adjusting for audience growth/shrinkage (if the same quality audience has grown, you can assume a similar response rate even though your circulation size has changed).
  2. Increasing/decreasing the audience of a different quality without accounting for a difference in performance. This is important – by increasing circulation, the quality of the audience will decrease and the expected revenue per person for the incremental circulation will be lower.

One way to determine the revenue increase/decrease per person for different quality circulation is based on a loose rule of thumb (divide the % increase by three so that the larger the increase in circulation, the greater the drop-off in revenue per person).

Using historical data and trend, you can then forecast your sales curves by order channel. Most large companies that have multiple order channels typically forecast by fiscal week for both call center staffing and managing the revenue/inventory predictions. Smaller and more internet-based companies may choose to forecast on a monthly basis.

Developing Your Balanced Marketing Plan For Lead Generation

Leads are the fuel that feeds the fire for all of our business developments. When they are not coming into your business funnel, your marketing plan is more than likely at fault. This article is all about fixing this through designing and implementing a structured 90 day plan. You will learn why you need this plan, the importance of a balanced free and paid marketing plan, planning your day and the power of focusing on one strategy for your 90 day plan.

Distractions are most of the time our number one enemy when it comes to any type of plan of action. It even starts with the daily attack of all “the new, great and guaranteed to get you results” emails in your inbox every morning! Your marketing plan, which should be structured within a 90 day time frame, is really the most important component of your business. All successful marketers work off of some kind of plan created to help them track progress and have discipline. I am currently in the process or making my second 90 day plan which will be very different from the first. Why? I have learned so much since the first and by the third plan it should look different from the second.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this. Truth is, the more the better as this is a fundamental truth to any success we plan on having. I found that most people fail when they dabble in too many marketing strategies instead of mastering just one or two proven strategies. I found this true with myself as I needed to narrow my focus to get results and not be all over the place. I would suggest selecting one or two marketing strategies and spend the next 90 days becoming a master at them. Two good examples might be video marketing and article marketing. Both are not only cheap but fun!

Designing your marketing campaign using only paid marketing strategies is not a good idea. Most new marketers did what I almost did and that is spending one’s self out of the “game”. Remember, it will take time to reach the right conversion metrics on any single marketing strategy. That’s why your 90 day plan is so important! You need the time to master the skill to get the results you need to grow your business. You can then move on and master another strategy. If you are using only paid strategies you will limit yourself to what you can accomplish using free marketing strategies. Don’t buy it when you are told free marketing strategies equate to sub-par results. That is simply not true. I personally have generated more leads using free marketing strategies and so can you! Bottom line, you never have to worry about your advertising budget when you are generating leads for free!

Truth is just about every marketing strategy works. But you won’t see results in a time period of only two weeks. Here is a quick break down of a 90 day plan with month number six in mind with a goal:

  1. First month is testing and learning with a small budget.
  2. Month two brings a winning campaign or two that you are getting results and working to master.
  3. The third month you will have a number of winning campaigns with profitable ad groups that keep converting better and better.
  4. Month six equals two completed 90 day plans. Now you could be and should be at about 200 leads per week converting at a good percentage.

You want to reach the three pillars of Jedi Marketing Mastery. This is going from good, to great and landing on mastery of your selected marketing strategies. Reaching “great” is a good time to introduce another strategy to your plan if desired. Please be sure you think it through and know it is in your best interest to start another marketing “project”. It takes patience and persistence to become a Jedi Marketing Master of anything. You will make mistakes and will have to overcome obstacles and challenges. That comes with the territory and you must remember those who become masters are unstoppable in their mission to mastery.

A 90 day plan can only be set up and used by you. You and I both know there are many tools to use to organize our day to stay on track. I can tell you a secret that you probably don’t know. The secret is to focus on one type of marketing strategy per day. For example, the allotted time you set for your daily marketing might be one four hour slot or two slots of two hours each. Select and focus on one marketing strategy for the day. Don’t do video marketing for two hours, one hour to write an article and the last hour to create a pay-per-click campaign online. You are too scattered and your results at best will be scattered.

In conclusion, my hope is you got something from this to move you to create your 90 day plan. Once again, it won’t be perfect and is not supposed to be. In fact it will be down right challenging at first. All successful marketers must go through this and learn for themselves what their 90 day plan will look like. They then adjust and fine tune it until it serves them and their business. Best of luck to you in you 90 day plan and marketing strategies!

The Marketing Concept

During the 1960s, the term ‘marketing concept’ emerged. It was a ‘revolution’ because what can be considered as modern businesses have changed their strategies and the total activities of their businesses. William J. Stanton, Professor of Marketing at the University of Colorado stated:

“The marketing concept is based on two fundamental beliefs. First, all company planning, policies and operations should be oriented toward the customer; second, profitable sales volume should be the goal of a firm. In its fullest sense, the marketing concept is a philosophy of business which states that the customer’s want satisfaction is the economic and social justification of a company’s existence. Consequently, all company activities in production, engineering, and finance, as well as in marketing, must be devoted first to determining what the customer’s wants are and then to satisfying those wants while still making a reasonable profit.”

A marketing executive at the General Electric Company, one of the first companies formally to recognize and implement the marketing concept, emphasized the important role of marketing in a nice way when he said: “We feel that marketing is a fundamental business philosophy.” It is obvious that this definition recognizes the importance of implementing the philosophy of marketing’s functions and methods of organizational structuring. Although it must be realized that marketing’s functions and methods are not, in themselves, the philosophy.

But the best-known writer on the subject at that time was Professor Theodore Levitt of Harvard. He had this to say: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are not riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others which are thought of as seasoned growth industries have actually stopped growing. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management. The failure is at the top. The executives responsible for it in the last analysis are those who deal with broad aims and policies.”

The excuses used for declining growth of the railroads, for example, were not because the need for passenger and freight transportation declined. That grew. The railroads were in trouble not because the need was filled by others like cars, trucks, airplanes, even telephones, but because it was not filled by the railroads themselves. The railroads companies let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry wrong was because they were product-oriented instead of customer-oriented.

Peter Drucker, the world’s leading writer on the whole field of management, says: “It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance-especially not to the future of the business and to its success… What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers value, is decisive-it determines what a business is, what it produces and whether it will prosper. And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, that is, what a product or service does for him…. Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two-and only these two-basic functions; marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are ‘cost’. It is vital for every company regularly to ask this question ‘what business are we in?’ and to answer it in terms of what its customers buy not in terms of what it produces.”

More recently, Professor Peter Doyle has said that “Marketing-the task of seeing to provide customers with superior value-is so central that it cannot be seen as just another function alongside production, finance or personnel. The central task of management is to find better ways of meeting the needs of customers.”

source: http://en.articlesgratuits.com/the-marketing-concept-id1429.php

5 Ways of Using Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is attractive to many marketers because in most cases its effectiveness can be measured directly. For example, if you were to send out one thousand solicitations by mail and you receive seventy responses, then you know that the mailing led to a seven percent response rate.

Any medium that you choose to use to communicate directly to your prospects is being employed in direct marketing. These 5 methods are examples of direct marketing that you can use to obtain prospects and increase sales for your business.

Direct mail

One of the most commonly used mediums in direct marketing is direct mail. Direct mail allows you to design marketing pieces in many different formats. Direct mail can include envelope mailers, catalogues, self-mailers, snap mailers, dimensional mailers, brochures, and postcards. When you write your direct mail piece make sure you know your target market, and how you are going to appeal to their wants and needs. Write your objective and refer to it often. Don’t lose sight of where you want to go with the piece that you are writing. You can purchase a mailing list of businesses and services in your target market from a list company, or you can develop your own list by gathering email addresses on your web site.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a direct marketing sales technique that has the advantage of speed in a marketing campaign. When you are a conducting a telephone solicitation you should first introduce yourself then offer an incentive in solving a problem that you know exists (to do this would require you to do some research on the business or what individuals would be looking for in your product). Ask question that you know will lead to a yes answer (keep prospects on phone answering yes to your questions). Describe your product or service and how it solves the client’s needs. Ask if they have any questions. You now can ask for a face to face meeting, or to get permission to send information via mail or e-mail, or make another brief follow-up call. If unavailable, ask what would be a good time to call back.

E-mail

The most common medium today for direct marketers is e-mail because of its low cost, and because customer responses can be generated rapidly. You must understand that the internet is a different medium. The copy that worked for you in postal mail will not on the internet, not as e-mail. In e-mail copywriting, the subject is the headline, you must write succinct headline-3 to 5 words. Your subject determines whether your e-mail gets read or not. Next, make it personal. People on the internet want personal notes. Next, get to the point keep it short and simple. Next, give them an incentive to act by giving them a reason to buy now. Next, include a call to action to tell people what you want them to do. Don’t leave them wondering what to do next. Next, drive people to your web site (don’t try to close the sale in the e-mail). Next, build relationship with your clients. Listen to their want and needs. Treat your clients like you would treat yourself. Next, you must follow through on your promises that you made to your client. Do what you said you were going to do.

Direct response

In direct response marketing the customer responds to the marketing message directly. An example, of this would be infomercials, where prospects view a television presentation of a product offering, and can make a purchase with a credit card over the telephone or internet. You can use communications in magazines, newspapers, radio, e-mail, and direct mail to solicit a response. For example, order forms or coupons in magazines and newspapers to purchase products, or receive discounts on products are techniques that have been used very successfully in increasing sales. These same offers are distributed by e-mail and tell and toll-free numbers, which in today’s marketing world, is more economical and faster.

Personal selling

Making personal sales calls on prospects is another technique of direct marketing. You should first conduct research on the companies, or the target prospects that you are trying to sell your product or service too. You can also buy a list from a reputable list company. If you take this route make sure that you have complete information on your target market. When making a personal sales call you must write a sales presentation before hand. This presentation should be written to fit the needs and desires of the prospect that you are presenting your product too. Your presentation should provide clear examples, or even demonstrations of how your product or service will accomplish this. Your presentation should contain more that just one way your product can be of service to your prospect. You must also be prepared to handle objections and questions that the prospects will have.